Most of my compression tutorials focus on recognizing what compression can sound like in your mix. Because, if you can’t imagine what properly applied compression will sound like before you reach for the compressor’s controls, you’re working in the dark and your results will be, at best, hit and miss. That said, you do of course need to understand the common controls found on most compressors: Threshold, Ratio, Attack, and Release.
Nick from PrimeLoops does a great job of explaining these four basic controls and their relationships to one another. I discovered Nick’s tutorials as a video response to an old tutorial I did called, How to Use EQ Like a Pro. His video tutorials are promotion for Primeloops, a company that sells royalty free loops and samples. They’ve got some good sounds on their Web site. And, some of Nick’s other tutorials look quite good as well. Definitely worth checking out.
Just one thing to mention about Nick’s Compression tutorial, it looks like he’s using an old version of Reason because his demonstration is done using the Comp-01 device. The information is still relevant, because the controls are universal on most compressors, but, if you use Reason, use the MClass Compressor device rather than the Comp-01. The MClass Compressor is a much better compressor in terms of sound and controls.